MLB/ Yoshinobu Yamamoto hopeful of returning to Dodgers’ rotation despite not having a timeline

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MLB/ Yoshinobu Yamamoto hopeful of returning to Dodgers’ rotation despite not having a timeline

MLB/ Yoshinobu Yamamoto hopeful of returning to Dodgers’ rotation despite not having a timeline

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

July 22, 2024 at 11:30 JST

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Photo/IllutrationLos Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, left, leans in to speak with designated hitter Shohei Ohtani during a news conference announcing a planned Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit on the exchange of baseball between the United States and Japan, July 2, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES--Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto is hopeful of returning this season, even though there isn’t a timeline on when that might happen.

“I’m trying to come back as soon as I can,” Yamamoto said through an interpreter before Sunday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Yamamoto was transferred to the 60-day injured list last week, meaning he can’t return until mid-August at the earliest.

The pregame comments were the first time Yamamoto has met with the media since he went on the IL on June 16 with a strained rotator cuff. The injury was initially described as triceps tightness before the strain was diagnosed.

The 25-year-old Yamamoto is in his first year in the majors after departing his native Japan and signing a record $325 million, 12-year contract.

Yamamoto said he isn’t feeling any pain or discomfort in his shoulder. He will play catch on Monday and stretch it out close to 200 feet. If that goes well, manager Dave Roberts is hopeful Yamamoto could resume his throwing program.

“I don’t have a timeline on when he’s going to throw a pen. I watched him from afar yesterday, and the arm stroke was good,” Roberts said.

Yamamoto was 6-2 with a 2.92 ERA before being injured. The right-hander threw two-hit ball over seven innings at the New York Yankees on June 7. He tossed 106 pitches, the fourth straight time he had thrown more than 100.

“There is some frustration. But the fact is, I just need to keep focusing on rehab and then get myself ready to get back,” Yamamoto said. “I have to keep working with the trainers and just do my preparation based on what they say.”

The Dodgers’ rotation has been short-handed for the past month without Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow (back tightness) and Walker Buehler (right hip inflammation).

Glasnow is expected to come off the IL on Wednesday and face the San Francisco Giants. Three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to make his first start of the season Thursday in the series finale after working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery.

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